Jefferson Davis was the son-in-law of Zachary Taylor. Marrying the daughter, Sarah Knox Taylor, of General Zachary Taylor, who opposed the marriage, he resigned his commission in the Army in 1835. Tragically the new bride died three months after her marriage of malaria. She was 21. Taylor blamed Davis for bringing his daughter to the malarial infested region in which his plantation was located in Mississippi. War would end the enmity of the two men who loved Sarah Knox Taylor.
Although he had resigned from the Army, however, Davis never ceased to be a military man, always retaining a fascination for all things martial. Thus it was only natural that Davis, a Congressman from Mississippi at the beginning of the Mexican War, resigned from Congress and raised a volunteer regiment, the Mississippi Rifles, which he led as colonel.
On July 21, 1846, the regiment sailed from New Orleans to join the army of Zachary Taylor in northern Mexico.
Davis had armed his regiment with 1841 percussion rifles, the latest technology, with much more reliable percussion caps substituted for flint locks. Davis’ men during the war would use the rifles with such deadly skill that ever afterwords the rifles became known as 1841 Mississippi percussion rifles.